Looking for Jack Kerouac by Barbara Shoup
One of the reasons I love YA books is that I try to incorporate myself into the coming of age tale. I try to imagine how I would react if faced with these circumstances. Barbara Shoup and I must be kindred spirits then because she wondered what it would be like to follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac.
In “Looking for Jack Kerouac,” Paul Carpetti picks up a copy of “On the Road” by legendary beat novelist Jack Kerouac during a class trip in New York City. The book has a dramatic impact on Paul, changing his whole outlook on life. But when he returns home from the city, his world crumbles. It’s 1964, and Paul is dealing with the death of his mother. He
needs to get away. Paul hops in a car with his friend, Duke, and doesn’t look back. The two land in Florida where Paul finds Kerouac, who turns out to be nothing like the author he idolized. But, in the end, the writer helps Paul in his journey to self-discovery in an unexpected way.
Haven’t you ever thought about taking a sabbatical and driving across country with your bestie and live out an adventure? To be sure, I did, but then I realized that I could satisfy that wanderlust through reading books. Of course Kerouac’s own life wasn’t nearly as glamorous as you might think. Shoup delved into his past and discovered that he was human and flawed. Not, I’m sure, what young Paul and Duke want to discover at the end of their road trip. This book is labeled YA but could totally appeal to adults since they might actually know who Kerouac was.
Still, nostalgia is fun to indulge every once in a while. And so is traveling.
You can learn more about Shoup and her other books at BarbaraShoup.com.